Morpeth among the picket line sites for strike by BT Group workers

With more than 40,000 BT Group workers about to hold a two-day national strike, it has been announced that one of the picket lines will be in Morpeth outside the Telephone Exchange on Newgate Street.

The announcement followed a strike ballot, in which Openreach engineers voted for action by 95.8 per cent and members in BT returned a 91.5 per cent majority for the walkout.

The strike action will take place on Friday (July 29) and Monday (August 1).

The employees in the Communication Workers Union (CWU) say the pay offer they have received is “insulting” in the context of BT’s profits and shareholder payouts, and is below the current rate of inflation.

Morpeth Telephone Exchange in Newgate Street. Picture from Google.

BT says the flat pay increase of £1,500 per year for all UK staff equates to a rise of around three per cent for workers on top-end salaries, and around eight per cent for those on lower wages.

CWU general secretary Dave Ward said: “The reason for the strike is simple – workers will not accept a massive deterioration in their living standards.

“We won’t have bosses using Swiss banks while workers are using food banks.”

A BT Group spokesperson said that the rise is “our highest salary increase in more than 20 years”.